Why is online scheduling important for your dental office
Patients today are looking for more visibility and options related to their dental care. Are these the first things that come to your mind when you read “online scheduling” for your office?
- Patients don’t know what they need
- Patients don’t know how to schedule
- Patients would never use it
- Patients wouldn't go somewhere else, they are loyal
- The schedule is way too complex for someone outside the office to figure out
They were the first things that came to mind for the CEOs of the airline companies 15 years ago. But, when was the last time you called an airline to schedule a flight? How loyal are you to an airline carrier? Do you say, “I’m only going to fly Delta”? Or do you look at all the options and decide based on convenience, availability, and price? With quality of healthcare and dentistry at an all-time high, now busy consumers are choosing dentists based on the convenience offices provide.
The tendency to see the hurdles instead of the opportunities is not unique to healthcare and dentistry. "Things are just fine the way they are" or "I have always done it this way" is no longer acceptable in the rapidly-changing, fast-paced world we now live in.
Patients today are looking for more visibility and options in their health and dental care. For existing patients, scheduling them for an appointment six months in advance is great for your office, but it may not fit their schedule when the time comes. Then they must call your office and reschedule once they receive the reminder for their upcoming appointment. This causes two issues for your office:
- Someone has to take that phone call with you paying their wage and
- Now you have a hole in your schedule.
New patients have more information available to them today than ever before. Not only can they be proactive about searching for information, but patients looking for a new dentist will be targeted through both online and offline methods to solicit their business. This gives the patient choices and in order to differentiate yourself you have to not only show your credentials and reviews, but you also have to make it convenient for the patient to schedule their appointment. Patients don’t always search for a provider during the 35 hours a week you are open and they aren’t likely to carry around your number with them until you can answer the phone. They will find the most convenient practice for them to schedule with.
Does online scheduling mean that you have to convert all your scheduling to online only and fire your staff? Does it mean that you cannot have personal contact with your patients? No and no.
What it means is that you can now offer a way for your patients to find and schedule an appointment that works for both your office and the patient. They can do this even when your staff is not available to answer the phone. It complements your existing scheduling practices, offering a cutting-edge solution, and shows you are working to provide the convenient services that your patients want and are used to in almost every other facet of life.
Locating and taking advantage of opportunities to help your patients will give you the edge needed to stay ahead of your competition. Giving your patients the ability to schedule online with your practice will give your patients one more reason to keep choosing your practice for their dental care.
Want to learn more about using online scheduling to grow your practice? Contact our sales team today to schedule a demo of LocalMed, the first and only real-time scheduling platform for dental practices.